First Take: Swimming for Sport
by Heather McCann
My brother swam the length of Lake Tahoe last summer. I kayaked next to him on the lake one early morning, watching him glide through the water effortlessly. Swimmers make swimming long distances look peaceful. I’ve never felt anything but panic.
The last time I swam for sport was in a mini-triathlon almost 20 years ago. I doggy paddled for a quarter of a mile and felt a great level of success in surviving. Swimming is NOT MY JAM. I’ve made a promise that I will not let fear hold me back from participating in something that may add great value to my life or yours. Fitness and activity always qualifies as “great value” in my book so here I am.
My husband Ryan and I drive together to meet Mads and the Triathlon Club of Central California (TC3) for a swim clinic. The day before the clinic, I purchased a swim cap, goggles and a suitable suit. I’m moderately prepared but I start to panic on the car ride to the clinic. I lose my breath and tears flow (for the record, I’m an open cryer but this is only the second time I’ve felt panic). Ryan comforted me and offered to take over this First Take experience. How can I expect you people to try something new and different if I can’t? Here we are together, FACING OUR FEARS (insert all cuss words, emotions and expressions here).
Mads is doing this swim clinic for TC3 members or those interested in the club. There are about eight of us from every level. Participants range in age from 16 to 60, skill level from Iron Man competitor to well, me. Mads may be one of the most personable people I’ve met and clearly knows her stuff.
We chat and put on our caps and goggles. I bought the wrong everything but they let me borrow whatever I need to be successful. I’m the last one in the pool. I pretend like I need to take pictures and assess the situation but I’m procrastinating. I’m afraid and no amount of nice is going to make me feel better.
Mads takes video of each of us as we swim one length of the pool. I don’t feel like a complete idiot but I can’t breath. I’m glad we get to stop and listen. She gives us swim techniques like breath toward your arm pit or glide and roll to the side and with each technique goal we swim another length. She gives us drills like count the number of breaths you take or pretend you’re pulling mud and we swim with that goal. I’m learning so much and the practice of what I’m learning is really fun
Ten minutes in to the clinic and I’ve ditched my panic. I feel confident enough to be fully present. I am focused on each goal our coach is giving to us and feel successful in my learning process. I also really like the people I’m with. The hour flies by.
Mads takes video of us as we do our last lap. We use our new found knowledge to improve our swimming skills and it’s fun to see the result. I think Mads is the bees knees and I see why she has a reputation for being an amazing coach.
Mostly, I feel good about overcoming my fear. All of the good stuff is on the other side of fear.
Would you like to do a Valley Sweat Life Second Take with us?
Sign up HERE for a Swim Clinic with TC3 Triathlon Club and Coach Mads Schroeder.
Saturday, August 25 at 8 am at Millerton Lake (specific details will follow to those signed up).
WHY are we doing this series?! Valley Sweat Life is joining the TC3 Club to complete a mini triathlon TOGETHER. Are you interested? Find more details HERE